Gatekeeping Vs. YOUR Literacy

Now that I have read “The Elements of Literacy” I finally understand what our education system is doing. I have finally came to the conclusion that all grade levels kindergarten through 12, no matter what kind of test it is, EOG, placement, SAT, ACT, etc. they all are created to place us in certain academic surroundings that distinguish are levels of literacy. The NCLB recaps this by throwing parties for schools who reach a certain level of test scores, leaving the kids who didn’t reach the requirement to dry and pushed away and leaving schools that have the most troubled kids with their academics with less money due to the fact the schools with higher test scores receive the most amount of funding. How is that fair?

The standardized writing format that we have all been brought up learning is a way of gate keeping that our teachers have made for us if they are following the curriculum. If a student believes that that isn’t the correct way for them to format their paper and doesn’t correctly do the five paragraph format that are punished. They are outcast with a bad grade not because their writing isn’t “good writing” but because of the format. How crazy.

Literacy changes every single day. It has always been something that we base upon people rather they are “smart” or “dumb”, educated or not educated. Do you have “good” literacy or do you not have it at all. Having just a small bit of knowledge of literacy is better than no literacy at all, having your own type of literacy can be great but also horrible when it comes to what your gate keepers are considering literacy in that certain moment of time. You can identify literacy, sometimes people have literacy but it’s not the same as your literacy so you consider them “dumb”. That’s not how it should work and people shouldn’t have to stay in one “gate keeping” scene. Each culture has a different meaning of literacy and each individual has their own interpretation of it as well.

Genres and more genres

Dean tells us that genres aren’t only about literary texts anymore, but that they go far beyond that. There’s a social aspect of genres that people often sometimes miss. Every day texts have more of a genre context than our literature in the classroom. There are many different forms of genres which consist of, social, rhetorical, dynamic, historical, cultural, situated and ideological.

The genre that speaks out to me most out of these seven is the social genre. In reading Deans observations of a social genre I understand that if you are to be applying for a certain area of work that requires research and knowledge on a current event of the world and you submit a poem then you may not be hired due to the fact that it is not what was asked in that specific “social genre.” Social genres are how you interact with people and certain things. I don’t quite understand that some social genres can build off of one another when they are to be their own genres.

Historical genres are when something new comes about, but how is that so if it’s a “historical” genre. Doesn’t that mean something in the past? So how can it be new? Historical genres are to rely on something that has already came about but what is that specific thing that it relies on? How do you draw the line for that? To me, cultural genres have the same sense of lead as historical genres do. All of the aspects that cultural genres give off are based on something previous but also have just a little something different about them that makes it a new genre.

Ideological is one of the genres that i most understand and can really use. This genre speaks out and informs what you know, how you know it, what you stand for and how you view it. It’s a typical genre of the world that I see people using every single day, even in our writing class. Dean states that “The workers’ dilemma indicates how participation in workplace genres situates writes in relations of power.” This confused me a bit. Is the wrong ideological genre being taught in schools? Is your teacher teaching their own ideological genre to prepare you for what they might think is the real world and the right way or the true curriculum of all schools ideological genre to prepare you for standardized testing.

What is You, is You

In the world that we live in today everyone has their own different language that they write and talk in and believe is “correct literacy.” It may come from their parents, schoolteacher’s or just hearing the way people in their hometown speak. I was raised in a small town where “good literacy” wasn’t often used and when it was spoken of it was only in our college town, Elon University. My high school was in the middle of nowhere and most of the teachers were also from the middle of nowhere, who had no idea of what “good literacy” was unless they were our English teachers. Even being our English teachers they didn’t have much patience with correct our grammar, punctuation, and etc. So they did just as much as they needed to, to have us pass the course.

Harris and Bartholomae said, “Write not as isolated individuals but as members of communities whose beliefs, concerns, and practices both instigate and constrain, at least in part, the sorts of things we say.” To me this quote states that we express who we are through our own way of writing. Everyone has his or her own opinions of what literacy is and what is right or wrong. In your writings you aren’t so much worried about how others are going to think of your writings but how they sound to you. No one writing or language is the same, so how can one be judged on what’s right or wrong literacy. Not everyone is taught the same, raised the same or even corrected the same. You have your own thoughts, voice and opinions. You shouldn’t be downed upon because you’re writing or language spoken isn’t what someone else’s is. It’s how you are expressed and different from others, one community is the same.

It’s different when you put it into terms with “discourse communities.” It’s how YOU personally make the writing and what comes out of it. Nothing makes your writing more unique than YOU influencing it and not letting the writing influence you.

Over time we grow up and learn to learn from others and learn from what they write or how they speak. Through discourse communities we pick up what is laid out and are taught to speak and write how we are wanted to when we get to the college level. We might not exactly understand it, but we constantly check over our essays and get others to look over them hoping that they exceed their expectations and not just our own. At the end of the day your essays and the way you express yourself threw your language and writings will always stand out in some way or another. Your writings will always be influenced by you and not the editors or teachers who taught you the specific way of literacy.


During my two semester here at Charlotte I’ve been enrolled in many different types of discourse communities. Two courses that were very different from each other in their discourse community is my UWRT 1103 and Global Connections class WWI. One is required and one isn’t but some how the required class is less stressful than the non-required class.

In our UWRT class we have about 15 students and the discussion is very deep and understandable. Every topic is thoroughly discussed and questions are thoroughly answered. We talk to each other as a class and get each others different opinions. We have a writing assignment every class day to pull our thoughts together. it’s designed to better our writing skills and that’s exactly what it does.

My Global Connections class is a LBST and lately I have noticed our LBST classes can become more confusing to understand than our classes that are required and required for our major. In this class there is close to 170 students who sit and take notes on the power point that our professor stands up and lectures on throughout our hour and 15 minute class period. We have more homework assignments than I can count and more readings than necessary, much are which too hard to understand. The understanding of this class is very hard for me due to the fact it is history and that isn’t a strong subject of mine. The way this professor lectures is hard to keep up with, it’s very scattered.

These two courses differ mainly in size and the way the two professors get material out to you. One is better understanding and the other just throws information out and you can only hope to understand. The Global Connections class is what I had in mind college would be like and our UWRT class reminds me a lot of our courses in high school where your teachers really thought thoroughly with you to better you.

All professors have a different way of going about lecture, the sizes, the accents, the way they lecture, the amount of work, amount of pop quizzes, etc. It’s college and everything is different than what we’ve ever experienced, no two professors are the same nor is a course. Every UWRT class is different and every history class is different in college, it’s about experience and finding what works best for you.

What I believe “good” Writing is

In my opinion to be literate means to understand readings and have acknowledgement of what words means. To be able to have “good” writing you have to be literate. Good writing is your own words, and also your own process of thinking. Grammar, punctuation, logic and understanding are very important parts to a “good” writing. Restating something you have previously talked about is okay in some senses but also not okay in other. Repeating yourself over and over, just rambling turns a good writing into a poor writing. The words you choose to use in your writing matter a significant amount, they matter and can make or break your writing. “Good writing serves the reader, not the writer.” Some qualities in “good” writing that are important to have are ideas that are important, smooth sentences, express ideas, and make connections. Qualities I would find in a bad writing would be, rambling on, talking about something in your writing that has nothing to do with the subject or object, horrible grammar and punctuation.

A grammar rant that grinds my ears is when people use texting abbreviations in their school-work, papers, and anything that isn’t text messaging. Honestly even using abbreviations in anything that someone else will need to read or make out drives me insane. Not everyone is familiar with your abbreviations, it is not that hard to spell out a word!

I agree with the statements about beginning your papers with a thesis statement, I always thought that my thesis statements in high school were too long but my teachers never thought anything of it. To me as long as you get your point across in the paper, but state your main purpose of the paper at the beginning it shouldn’t matter where your points come across. I also strongly agree with the punctuation comments, my teachers in high school never really referred to the I’s and you’s as much as I see my professors correcting my writings now in college. It’s a different perspective that professors and teachers from high school have from one another.

Inquiry into Inquiry

1) “Inquiry is the act of seeking information by questioning.” ( Using Inquiry you are to wonder and go deeper into the subject than you normally would, by interrogating the subject. Investigating a situation thoroughly and righteously. ( The dimensions of inquiry are: authenticity, academic rigor, assessment, use of digital technologies, active exploration, connecting with expertise, and elaborated communication. I also was able to find this definition of Inquiry and thought it was the perfect explanation, “Inquiry … requires more than simply answering questions or getting a right answer. It espouses investigation, exploration, search, quest, research, pursuit, and study. It is enhanced by involvement with a community of learners, each learning from the other in social interaction.” (Kuklthau, Maniotes & Caspari, 2007, p. 2) (

2) Inquiry Based Learning (IBL) is to ask as many questions as necessary to fully understand the subject. Go beyond the normal measures of finding facts and look deeper into than you normally would. Ask more questions and research more on your subject. ( Teachers use inquiry based learning to fully engage the students and potentially increase there understanding through the course hands on. (

3) Science Education uses Inquiry Based Learning in their experiments while trying to decide on a hypothesis. They are to gather information and questions form students with little knowledge on the subject and then using inquiry based learning they are to collaborate on methods and using the questions they are to find more direction to ask deeper questions. ( History teachers use Inquiry Based learning through textbooks more than through technology, they want their students to investigate questions through historical evidence, they want their students to see that history isn’t always a collection of facts but also a “rigorously constructed set of arguments.” ( Not everyone ages on Inquiry Based learning and as we can see from my research that science teachers use it for their methods as history teachers use it more for proving that history isn’t always what we believe it is.

-Students who seem to have a better grasp of the topic are able to provide bigger theories and make “bigger ideas” out of a circumstance than other students who might just continue to find more information through simple questions. ( Students who attend public school vs. being homeschooled might have a different look upon inquiry based learning because the homeschooled students are able to engage more one on one and seek time to find more inquiry based information than a public school student would on a time scheduled bases in class. There thinking might not be able to be as engaged as a homeschooled students thinking would making the public school student not agree completely with inquiry based thinking. (

-There are overlaps in peoples’ understandings of Inquiry Based Learning from connotation and denotation learning. Connotation refers to anything that could be used in more than one way, while denotation refers to things that can only be referred to as one thing. When inquiry based learning becomes apart of this the critical thinking has to be more engaged than usual. ( When one is trying to determine rather something is connotative verse denotation most assume and come up wrong in the end. When using the two words you are trying to describe the meaning of a word, technically you are using inquiry based learning to look further into something than usual. People don’t realize this and don’t understand the use of inquiry based learning while they are trying to figure out the denotation or connotation of a word. (